The Role of Demographics in HIV Clinical Outcomes

According to 2006 estimates from the CDC, about 56,300 people were newly infected with HIV and 1,106,400 Americans were living with HIV infection, 21% of whom were undiagnosed. “It’s critical that quality of care for HIV-infected people be optimized, particularly among newly infected individuals, so that disparities in HIV-related outcomes are minimized,” says Amie L. Meditz, MD. The United States government has identified HIV/AIDS-related healthcare as a top priority and has set three major goals for providers: the first is to reduce the number of new infections; the second is to increase access to care and optimize outcomes among those infected; and the third is to reduce health-related disparities. A study by Dr. Meditz and colleagues published in the February 2011Journal of Infectious Diseases sought to determine whether sex and race influenced clinical presentation, use of antiretroviral therapy (ART), and morbidity following primary HIV infection. The study was part of the Acute Infection and Early Disease Research Program (AIEDRP), a multicenter study network funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Over 2,000 North American subjects who enrolled in AIEDRP between 1997 and 2007 were evaluated and followed for an average of 4 years. “Previous research has shown that women have lower viral loads and higher CD4 cell counts,” says Dr. Meditz. “However, few studies have examined the role of sex and race on clinical outcomes in people with early-stage HIV infection.” Important New Data on HIV Morbidity Dr. Meditz’s study found that, compared with Caucasian men, Caucasian women were more likely to initiate ART. Non-Caucasian men and women were less likely to start ART at any time point...